Biggest Cities In Iowa

The most populated city in Iowa is Des Moines, the state capital.
The most populated city in Iowa is Des Moines, the state capital.

The State Of Iowa

Iowa is a state in the Midwestern US. The state shares a border with Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois. This states encompasses an area of 145,746 square miles and has a population size of 3,123,899, making it the 30th most populated US state. Many of these individuals live in the state’s cities and urban centers. This article takes a look at the most populated cities in Iowa.

The Biggest Cities In Iowa

Des Moines

The most populated city in Iowa is Des Moines, the state capital. It is the 91st most populated metropolitan area in the country with around 207,510 residents. The racial makeup of Des Moines is White (76.4%), African American (10.2%), Hispanic or Latino (12%), and Asian (4.4%). The average age is 33.5 years.

Although the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, the current city began in 1843 as a military fort to control local, indigenous peoples before forcing them further west. It was incorporated as a city in 1851. Fifteen years later, the railroad was completed which resulted in a huge population increase. During this time, coal mining was a significant part of the economy. Today, this city is home to a large number of insurance and financial services companies. The number 1 private sector employer is Wells Fargo & Co.

Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is the second most populated city in the state and the county seat of Linn County. The population size is 128,429, and its racial diversity consists of 87.98% White, 5.58% African-American, 3.31% Hispanic or Latino, and 2.21% Asian. The first European settler arrived here in 1838, but the city did not grow significantly until 1871 when a meat packing company was established. Today, the economy relies on the grain processing industry, which provides approximately 4,000 jobs.

This city also plays an important role in Muslim culture; the first Muslim immigrants arrived in 1895 from present-day Lebanon and Syria. In 1934, the Mother Mosque of America was founded. It is the oldest mosque in North America, although it was rebuilt in 1972. In 1975, Islamic Services of America, an organization that provides global Halal certification, began here.


Davenport, the county seat of Scott County, is the third largest city with a population of 102,157. The racial demographics of its residents are as follows: White (83.7%), African American (9.2%), Hispanic or Latino (5.4%), and Asian (2%). The average age is 34 years and women outnumber men 100 to 94.7.

After the 1832 Black Hawk War, the US government purchased the land from the defeated indigenous peoples and Davenport was officially established in 1836. When the Rock Island Railroad was built in 1856, trade with Chicago increased and helped its economy grow. This growth, however, was reversed during the Great Depression. After World War II, several large companies were established here, including Oscar Mayer. Today, the economy continues to center around the manufacturing industry, which provides over 7,000 jobs.

Other urban areas in Iowa and their population sizes can be found in the chart below.

The Biggest Cities In Iowa

1Des Moines207,510Polk Warren
2Cedar Rapids128,429Linn
4Sioux City82,459Woodbury Plymouth
5Iowa City71,591Johnson
6Waterloo68,366Black Hawk
7Council Bluffs61,969Pottawattamie
9West Des Moines61,255Polk Warren Dallas
12Urbandale41,776Polk Dallas
13Cedar Falls40,566Black Hawk
17Mason City27,704Cerro Gordo
19Burlington25,725Des Moines
21Fort Dodge24,639Webster
25North Liberty18,228Johnson

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